A concept from Rev. Cooke’s sermon last week has stuck with me. She said that Jesus is not interested in having fans but followers. As Panthers season approaches, I appreciated this analogy.
A fan is someone who passively observes the action while cheering on the real participants. Whether you are a fan of the NFL, of America’s Next Top Model or Brangelina, our fanaticism is relegated to the sidelines. Sometimes our faith can even fall into this same passive trap.
As a follower, however, we are not allowed the luxury to passively observer. Rather we are thrown into the midst of the action, told to stick close to the one who is leading and try not to get lost. A follower requires participation.
To be a fan means that our emotional state is based upon the external results of someone else: when the Panthers score I rejoice, when Delhomme turns the ball over 5 times I angrily throw my remote. To be a follower means that I am more interested in heeding the call of the leader, whatever the cost.
As Jesus tells the disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
What are you a fan of? What would it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross?
Associate Minister for Evangelism and Young Adult Ministries
First Presbyterian Church
200 West Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202